Leave the kids alone, Norway – Anil Malhotra

Shocking, but true. Barnevarne, a child care service of Norway, took custody of Indian children Abhigyan and Aishwarya from their natural parents Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya in May 2011 when they were two and-a-half years and six months old and lodged them in separate foster homes. It charged the mother Sagarika with “negligence and unable to bring up” the children.

A Norwegian court ruled that the two children would stay in two different foster homes until the age of 18 and their natural parents would be allowed to meet them only for an hour once a year.

Shockingly, the court adds that only if the couple separated, could the custody of the children be given to the natural father, who has been employed as a geoscientist in Norway. After an international media outcry and a personal meeting of grandparents Monotosh and Shikha Chakravarty with President Pratibha Patil to seek her intervention in getting their two grandchildren back from foster care in Norway, a headway is reported. Now Norway has agreed to hand over the children to their uncle in India.

Earlier letters sent to the Norwegian government by the Ministry of External Affairs on December 28, 2011, and January 5, 2012, did not elicit any response. With the visas of Bhattacharyas expiring in March, they dread leaving the country without their loved ones. The happening, sorrowfully true, is appalling.


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